Jonn Olsen, artist        

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Questions and Answers
The following are frequently asked questions by Jonny's fans.
Feel free to send him any of your questions.

Question: What gave you the idea to paint your buildings all bendy?
Answer: I used to play with a rock band called Otis Strange in a small basement bar called the Downstairs Club, in downtown Ottawa. We played there from 1995 to 1999. I would sell paintings of the band logo at the bar to make a little extra money. You can see some of them in the abstract section. The owner of the bar really like the way I painted and asked me to do a mural in the bar. The decor of the bar consisted of doors and walls that were crooked so he wanted an alleyway seen to match, so I created a scene with bendy buildings. It was very well recieved by the owner and the patrons and I was asked to paint a mural on the rest of the walls. Many of our fans asked me to recreate similar paintings which created the bendy building cityscape series.

Question: Why do you use such vibrant colours in all your paintings?
Answer: It's my style. I find paintings are more interesting when the colours catch the eye. I was born in the 70's when vibrant colours were everywhere. I miss those times. Over time the colours of all paintings tend to fade, so hopefully painting in vibrant colours will allow my paintings to last longer.

Question: How you come up with the ideas for your abstract paintings?
Answer: I usually let my pencil do the walking in my sketchbook and see what happens. This give the sketches the feeling of movement which what I try to embody. If you use lots of contrasting colours, the shapes really come out. Sometimes I will draw a picture of a particular object and super the lines of the background which create the shapes for the picture. Sometimes it's hit and miss, but if one particular sketch really speaks to me then I will make it into a painting.

Question: Do you use real models for the nudes?
Answer: In most cases I have uses real models. Some of them were girlfriends of mine and some of them were friends who were interested in being painted. Sometimes I paint from imagination but it's more fun to use real models. It's nice to have some company while I paint.

Question: Have you ever had an art exhibit and where?
Answer: In univeristy I convinced my professor to paint my thesis instead of writing a 60 page essay. He was very enthusiastic because it meant he wouldn't have to spend time correcting grammar. I completed over 50 paintings and drawings on the theme of 'Native Sprituality and Conflict in Canada'. The paintings were displayed in the foyer of one of the main buildings of the University of Waterloo for several days. They were well received and I got an 'A' for my effort. I have also exhibited many painting at a local Ottawa bar called the Elbow Room. At present many of my paintings are on display at my studio in Kanata. Anyone is welcome to come see them.

Question: Which is your favourite painting and why?
Answer: My favourite painting is Gaia, in the nudes section. It looks quite small on the website but it's actually quite big. It's a very striking painting. I love how the colours blend and how the smoothness of the shapes complements the colours. That particular painting was a good time in my life, when I feel I was painting at my best. I was sharing a studio with another artist and we would spend our afternoon just painting away. I sold the painting to a fellow who owned a music studio. I was sad to let it go, but I knew it would get good exposure in a music studio and being a musician, it just seemed like the best place for it to go.

Question: Is painting your job or your hobby?
Answer: For now it's mostly a hobby, but some day I look forward to retiring from performing and find a nice house somehwere with a beautiful view and set up my studio by the window. Then I will paint full time, of course I will probably still do a few shows on the side. It's hard to completely leave music behind. I'm also working on writing and illustrating a children's novel. It would be great to have that published one day.

Question: Where did you learn to paint?
Answer: I took many art classes in high school and University, but I have been painting and drawing since I was a child, often on the walls to the dismay of my mother. She eventually got wise and started posting gigantic blank sheets of paper on the walls for me to fill. In class I would often doodle while the teacher was talking about something boring. I also like to read lots of art books and buy art calenders, but the best way to learn however, is to just paint, and paint again.

The following are comments by Jonny's fans.
Feel free to send him your comments.

Sent on Jan 27, 2011
Hi Jonny
I stumbled across your website well doing a google search. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your work. I love the vivid colors. The painting Drumapokli reminds me of me work in Africa and the dot paintings I saw there. I also love Snow Night as it reminds me of where I live now. Your work is creative and candy for the eyes. Thank you for sharing.

Sent on Sept 23, 2010
Hi Jonny
I like your Drumpokli painting.
I live in Portugal

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